April 15th, 2010
Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I’m working on limiting meat to just a few times a week and making sure that we eat seafood at least once (vegetarian the rest of the way, baby!). It’s going well, but I’ve got to admit that cooking seafood once a week is a challenge. It’s hard to reliably coordinate buying and cooking fresh fish in the same day. And that’s not even getting into identifying fish that is both low in mercury and eco-friendly. So I have a new trick: I keep a bag of frozen shrimp around at all times.
I’ve always believed that fish was much healthier than shrimp but, as it turns out, shrimp is quite nutritionally dense. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, it is a great source of protein, vitamins D and B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids, among other things. And you know that whole thing about shrimp being high in cholesterol? Well research shows that shrimp raises levels of good cholesterol enough to offset the smaller increase it causes in bad cholesterol.
All this, and it’s the ultimate quick cook protein. What family cook doesn’t need that in her back pocket (figuratively speaking, of course)? Whether fresh or frozen, shrimp goes from fridge to pan to table in minutes.
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, but just barely. I add green peas for some veg (they work perfectly) and sometimes I make this without bacon. If you’re cooking for little ones, don’t be scared off by the hot sauce. It’s a small amount and easy to adjust to fit your family’s taste. In fact, you can adjust person by person. The Hungry Papa and I like our food spicier than the Hungry Boy, so I add more hot sauce after serving him. My Smoked Gouda Polenta is a glorious compliment to this dish, all smoky and creamy. And it cooks fast enough to keeps this a super fast meal.
Quick Saucy Shrimp
adapted from Martha Stewart, serves 4
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)*
2 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2″ pieces, optional
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 c frozen peas
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp hot sauce (or more, or less!)
1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Add onion and garlic to fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes (with their juice) and 1/4 cup water to skillet; bring to a boil. Add peas and shrimp; cook, stirring, until shrimp is opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in hot sauce. Serve over polenta, sprinkled with bacon.
*Note: Because shrimp is highly allergenic, some recommend waiting until 12 months to introduce. Others suggest even longer (3+ years). That said, food introduction recommendations are changing, as mounting evidence suggests there is little benefit in delaying even allergenic foods for children with no personal or family history of food allergies. Read more about my age categories to learn more and speak to your pediatrician about what’s right for your child.